Why the Baseball Hall of Fame Should Consider Me
I have not done the research to prove that I would be “The King,” but I believe I am among the best, because this just does not happen every day.
Do not get me wrong, I know I had a short, mediocre major league career. It certainly was not baseball hall of fame material. However, when a player does something that maybe no one else has ever done, I believe the baseball hall of fame should give them some love.
Players have hit and still hit out-of-the-park home runs all the time. The career out of the park record is 755 (Hank Aaron) or 773 (Barry Bonds), depending on your perspective. Then there is the inside the park homerun. The inside the park homerun record is 55 all-time and 13, post 1950, by Kansas City Royals player Willie Wilson. The inside the parker, as you noticed, is not nearly as common; but still, they happen. I pulled off a rounding the bases feat that was much more impressive than those common plays.
First, here are the press clip accounts of what I am talking about.
August 30, 1984 @ the Kingdome: Jack Perconte bunted towards the mound; Tigers pitcher Jack Morris dove for the ball, which fell in safely, then tried throwing to first while sitting down and airmailed it over Darrell Evans’ head. Right fielder Kirk Gibson retrieved the errant throw and tossed the ball into the Mariners’ dugout as Jack approached third base, which allowed Jack to come all the way around to score.
June 5, 1985 @ Tiger Stadium: Jack Perconte, once again against Jack Morris, bunted towards third for a hit; Tom Brookens fielded it and threw it past Barbaro Garbey, right fielder Alejandro Sanchez retrieved the errant throw and threw it away as well, allowing Jack to come all the way around to score.
As you read, my specialty was the “Little League Home Run” – for those unfamiliar with what that is, the little league homerun (common in little league, of course, no disrespect intended) is when a hitter puts the ball in play, circles the bases on that ball with at least one error being made. I just wonder how many major leaguers can say they hit two little league home runs “in the major leagues.”
Does the baseball hall of fame know this? Two little league “round trippers” in the big leagues in consecutive years. It is also evident, from the accounts of the plays, that the Tigers revamped their whole defense to stop me in 1985, to no avail. If other players back then knew, as I did, how easy it was to get runs off Jack Morris in this way; he probably would not be the baseball hall of fame worthy player he was.
OK, I was not a power hitter, having hit only two real major league round trippers. It is very embarrassing to have to answer “Two,” when people ask, “How many homeruns did you hit?” Also disheartening because it is always the first question kids ask upon learning that I played in the major leagues. Kids look at me when I answer, “Two,” as if saying, “You wimp.” The bolder ones come back with, “Josh Hamilton does that in one game.” Yada, yada, yada… I would like to explain to kids but what’s the use – I must admit that I was pretty feeble when it comes to hitting balls out of the park.
It is a shame that ESPN SportsCenter has brainwashed kids into thinking baseball is all about the long ball. My lack of home runs still gets to me a little and the power drought is somewhat inconceivable, even to me. I went well over 900 at bats to start my big league career without hitting a home run. My excuse, and I am sticking to it, is that for those first 900 or so at-bats, I choked up on the bat about 3 to 4 inches. That is very unheard of in baseball today, but it was the adjustment I made at the big league level to be able to hit for a decent average. The further I hit the ball the easier the out, so I choked up on the bat even more, so balls did not make it to the outfielder. There is a lesson there for those bold, inquisitive young ballplayers, I believe.
Baseball Hall of Fame – “There Goes the Greatest”
I believe the baseball hall of fame has missed this and feel like, at the least, there should be some mention of my feat in the hall. My dream is to one day walk down the street, just as the late, great Ted Williams dream, and hear people say, “There goes the greatest major league, little league home run hitter that ever lived.” Next to my name in the record books, it might say something like “Jack Perconte – The Major League Little League Home Run King.” Wow, that sounds good.
As the years pass, I wonder how many big league players are on the list of belting more than one little league home runs. Furthermore, how many have done it on balls that traveled no more than 30 feet and, has anyone ever done it twice against the same pitcher, as I did? See, now tell me that I am not worthy of a baseball hall of fame mention.